New number, new city but the 32-year-old running back Adrian Peterson playing like he never left his prime. After getting traded by New Orleans Saints Tuesday, October 10, Peterson became an Arizona Cardinal. He was named the team’s starter and ran for more yards in his first half debut Sunday than the four games he played as a Saint.
“A.D.” rushed for 134 rushing yards and two touchdowns (99 in his career) helping Arizona Cardinals defeat Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-34, Sunday. On the first drive he broke away for a 23-yard touchdown, his first since January 3, 2016 when Minnesota Vikings defeated Green Bay Packers to win the NFC North title the 2015 season.
It was a game where Peterson was finally given a fair opportunity to show he can still play and prove doubters wrong. One being Michael Rapaport who passed on advising fantasy football players to pick Peterson, during an NFL Network live Twitter session. Asked if Peterson would have a rebound game in his Cardinal debut, Rapaport tweeted “no.”
Before the trade Peterson saw limited actions from New Orleans Saints. On 27 carries he had 81 yards and with limited snaps he didn’t have a fair opportunity to get into a rhythm. Seeing more action from at half back was their 2016 starter Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara, who Saints head coach Sean Payton admitted he had a “man crush” on. With a crowded running back situation, coming off a week 5 bye week, they decided to trade Peterson. For Peterson, his prayers were answered.
After getting a text about the trade he turned on his television set, unsure if his text was just a rumor. While turning on his TV and checking social media he found out the breaking news was official.
“Thank you. Thank you Jesus. He answer prayers,” Peterson told reporters in his first press conference as a Cardinal Wednesday.
Joining the Cardinals he was happy to unite with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
“He’s a good friend of mine. We’re basically like family,” Peterson said. “It feels good to be here and have some friends as well to make the transition a lot smoother.”
Prior to Peterson’s arrival the team was known for having the worse run blocking in the league and were a bottom rushing team. All that was out the window when the team added a Hall of Farmer in the backfield. And Fitzgerald knew it from the start.
“He’ll be a great addition, a wonderful teammate. Obviously, he works his tail off,” Fitzgerald told reporters Thursday. “Hopefully, he’ll be the boost we need to start taking off.”
The plan for Peterson from the start was to feature him like he was in Minnesota, head coach Bruce Arians explained. The style of running was similar as it calls for a physical, downhill runner which is why Arians was happy with the trade.
I “felt like it was a good move for our team at this point in time,” Arians said. “The one thing about AP is he’s tough as nails.”
Cardinals (3-3) will take on division rival Los Angeles Rams (4-2) next Sunday.
By Gino Terrell